One video showed the aide performing a sex act on a female MPs desk.

Author : jibenkstrateginews
Publish Date : 2021-03-23 07:43:50


One video showed the aide performing a sex act on a female MPs desk.

The crisis engulfing Australia's "toxic" politics has continued to grow following the emergence of videos showing staff members performing sex acts in parliament, leading to one senior aide being fired.

One video showed the aide performing a sex act on a female MP's desk.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the videos as "disgraceful".

It comes after a former staff member revealed how she feared losing her job following an alleged sexual assault.

Brittany Higgins alleges she was raped by senior colleague in an office in March 2019, but says she felt pressured not to report the incident to police.

How rape allegations have rocked Australian politics
Will rape allegations change Australia's 'toxic' politics?
It sparked a wave of allegations, and last week, thousands took part in marches to protest against the sexual abuse and harassment of women in Australia.

What are these new videos?
The videos were leaked to Australian media by a former government staff member, who said he had become "immune" to the pictures because of the sheer volume he received.

As well as the videos - filmed two years ago - he said people had used the prayer room to have sex and even brought sex workers into parliament.

The whistleblower described a "culture of men thinking that they can do whatever they want", describing some of his colleagues as "morally... bankrupt".

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What has the reaction been?
Mr Morrison told reporters on Tuesday he was "shocked", adding: "We must get this house in order. We must put the politics aside on these things, and we must recognise this problem, acknowledge it, and we must fix it."

He has previously been criticised for his response, including for declining to meet protesters last week. He had invited march leaders were invited to meet him in parliament, but they rejected the offer saying they would not meet "behind closed doors".

Questions over the government's handling of the crisis were once again raised after backbench government MP Michelle Landry said she "felt sorry" for the fired aide.

But cabinet minister Karen Andrews told reporters her "conscience will no longer allow me to remain quiet" over sexism in Australian politics, saying gender quotas for political representatives should be considered - something Mr Morrison indicated he would not be entirely opposed to.

"We tried it the other way and it isn't getting us the results so I would like to see us do better on that front," he told reporters.

Labor, the opposition party, already have quotas in place.

What are the other allegations?
There has long been allegations of bullying and harassment in Australian politics. However, Ms Higgins' allegations have shone a spotlight on sexual assault and sexism.

In the days after she went public with her story, more allegations emerged - with Attorney General Christian Porter revealing he was the subject of a 1988 rape allegation.

He denies the allegation, and police closed the investigation because of a lack of evidence.

Ms Higgins' former boss, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, was also forced to apologise and pay compensation to her former aide, after calling her a "lying cow".

Critics say the government has also been too slow and ineffective in responding to wider accusations of sexism and misogyny in parliamentary culture - a problem they say extends across party lines.

The Labor opposition has said it would review its culture after dozens of anonymous allegations of sexual harassment and sexism against male figures within its party.

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Why is Morrison facing fresh criticism?
In his press briefing, the prime minister acknowledged widespread criticism of his own statements in the past two months.

These included a backlash over him invoking his role as a husband and father while discussing his response to an alleged assault.

Another involved him being accused of setting a low bar for democracy when he said of the protests: "Not far from here, such marches, even now are being met with bullets, but not here in this country."

On Tuesday, he acknowledged "many had not liked or appreciated" his comments, but insisted he was committed to driving broad cultural change.

But moments afterwards, Mr Morrison drew criticism for publicly airing a previously unreported sexual harassment complaint at a media organisation.

Opponents accused him of "weaponising" the complaint following a standard question from a reporter at the outlet, Sky News Australia.

"What about the woman at the heart of that complaint now? National news," said Labor Senator Katy Gallagher.

Just a fortnight ago, Australia was shocked by a former political adviser's allegations that she had been raped in the nation's Parliament House.

Brittany Higgins said she'd been attacked by a male colleague - also an adviser for the ruling Liberal Party - in a government minister's office in 2019.

Her story has triggered a flood of other women to come forward with their own experiences of alleged sexual assault and harassment in Australian politics.

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The most explosive of these - a 1988 rape allegation - now hangs over an unidentified cabinet minister. The minister denies rape, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday.

Mr Morrison has referred the case to authorities, but New South Wales state police closed their investigation on Tuesday, citing insufficient evidence.

A rape accusation against an opposition MP has also been referred to authorities.

As the allegations pile up, Mr Morrison's government in particular is facing a public clamour for answers. Here's how events have unfolded so far.

Brittany Higgins speaks out
Ms Higgins said she was 24 and weeks into a new "dream job" when she was taken to parliament by a senior colleague after a night out in March 2019.

Heavily drunk, she had fallen asleep in the minister's office before waking, she said, to find the man sexually assaulting her.

The man was sacked in the days following, not for the alleged assault but for breaching office security with the late-night visit.

Meanwhile Ms Higgins told her boss - then Defence Industry Minister Linda Reynolds - that she had been sexually assaulted. The meeting occurred in the same room where Ms Higgins alleged the attack took place.

Ms Reynolds has said she offered support to her aide to go to the police. Ms Higgins said she felt pressure that doing so would lead to her losing her job.

Ms Higgins said she had since felt "silenced" by the Liberal Party, but decided to speak out after seeing a photo of Mr Morrison in January. It showed him celebrating the activism of a sexual assault survivor.

"He's standing next to a woman who has campaigned [for survivors' rights]... and yet in my mind his government was complicit in silencing me. It was a betrayal. It was a lie," she told news.com.au.



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